Has Bowie been short-changed?

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Molony

Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby Molony » 30 Jun 2010, 20:48

First of all, I have to admit that I am far from knowledgeable about Bowie post-'Scary Monsters' but I was wondering if he's received an unduly hard time in terms of the critical reaction to his later work. I know 'Heathen' and the first 'Tin Machine' album (which is nowhere near as bad as some would suggest) but I haven't ever felt inclined to explore further because of all the adverse comment. Can any of you say anything positive about his 80s and 90s output? And by the way, where on earth is he these days?

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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby The Prof » 30 Jun 2010, 20:56

I think Loonybin put together a post-Scary Monsters comp, or at least suggested one. It wouldn't be groundbreaking but maybe better than most people give him credit for.

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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby bobzilla77 » 30 Jun 2010, 21:00

When I saw him live in 2004 he was doing about half classics and half more-recent stuff. You might want to check out the live Reality Tour CD or DVD as I remember thinking the newer, unfamiliar material was better than I expected. It seemed like he'd carefully selected the best stuff from those latter LPs.
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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby Snarfyguy » 30 Jun 2010, 21:01

I re-listened to Black Tie/White Noise recently and thought it was really good. A bit acid-jazzy, but quite strong overall. What you really need to avoid is that string of 80s ones: Tonight, Never Let Down, etc.
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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby Nervous Ned » 30 Jun 2010, 21:22

The short answer is 'No' ... Bowie has not been short changed. In fact I think it's an indication of how good his 1970-1980 material is that his reputation is not laying in tatters.

Here's my guide to the later stuff ... bearing in mind I actual bought most of the bloody albums!!! :?

Let's Dance, Tonight, Never Let Me Down - Avoid
There are some good tracks on them, but you don't need his version of God Only Knows ... trust me on this one.

Tin Machine, Tin Machine II, Oy Vey Baby - Hard to believe that the first TM album was hailed as great comeback at the time, it's part brilliance (The title track is one of the best things he has ever done in my opinion) and part dullness ... but it's betterthan TM II. Except that the second TM album contains another of his hidden gems ... Goodbye Mr Ed. Simply a 3 minute masterpiece. Sorry, Stateside etc etc are dross.
The live album ... I think it's deleted (I HOPE it is)

Black Tie White Noise, Buddah of Suburbia - worth trying to hear before buying.
Lots of folk rate these, and god knows they're better than the 80's run, but I've never heard much worth in them. Jump They Say from BTWN is excellent.

Outside - This is the one with Eno. The only album that can stand alomgside the classics and the only one I ever go back to. Has three or four tracks that I think rank with his best. Eno doesn' like it. But he produces U2 and is generally a berk these days.

Earthling - Never heard it

Hours - Dull, played it once

Heathen - You know this one and I 'm sure I'd like it more if I didn't harbour a bitter grudge against David at this point.

Reality - never heard it.

Personally I hope David's health is good and is enjoying his retirement.

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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby Sneelock » 30 Jun 2010, 21:27

he makes a living.
I like "outside" best but I also like "buddah" and "heathen" more than a bit.
'reality' and 'hours' don't do a lot for me but I do like something about them - it's like Bowie's been listening to his own records - like he's influencing himself in a way.

I like his later stuff but I can see why nobody really gets too excited about it. that stuff competes not only with whatever is current when it comes out but with Bowie's own stuff. I think you can cherry pick the hell out of his "recent" stuff.

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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby Count Machuki » 30 Jun 2010, 21:28

Nervous Ned wrote:
Outside - This is the one with Eno. The only album that can stand alomgside the classics and the only one I ever go back to. Has three or four tracks that I think rank with his best. Eno doesn' like it. But he produces U2 and is generally a berk these days.

Earthling - Never heard it CRAP

Hours - Dull, played it once RETURN TO FORM

Heathen - You know this one and I 'm sure I'd like it more if I didn't harbour a bitter grudge against David at this point.

Reality - never heard it. SAMEY BUT GOOD SONGS

Personally I hope David's health is good and is enjoying his retirement.


4 outta 5 ain't bad. Some interesting covers in there, too.
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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 30 Jun 2010, 21:52

Nervous Ned wrote:
Outside - This is the one with Eno.
Eno doesn' like it.


interesting, sort of...
and you got that from where?
just curious about the source
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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby toomanyhatz » 30 Jun 2010, 22:04

On the contrary, I think he's been given a free pass based on how great he was pre-Scary Monsters.

As far as what he's doing these days, he claims to be retired. I hope it's so, watching grandpa trying to keep up with the kids was getting embarrassing. I think the "Ms. Bowie sings the hits" tour was probably his sharpest and most appropriate move in the last three (three!!) decades. I give him credit for knowing when the jig is up, if that's indeed what's happening.
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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby zoomboogity » 01 Jul 2010, 00:31

Looking forward to his upcoming jazz/fusion band, Return To Formever.
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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby Nervous Ned » 01 Jul 2010, 09:17

Hi Conny ... The source was Eno 's published diary 'My Swollen Appendices' ... he makes a disparaging comment in relation to another recording (Maybe U2's Passengers).

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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby Moleskin » 01 Jul 2010, 09:34

Sneelock wrote:he makes a living.
I like "outside" best but I also like "buddah" and "heathen" more than a bit.
'reality' and 'hours' don't do a lot for me but I do like something about them - it's like Bowie's been listening to his own records - like he's influencing himself in a way.

I like his later stuff but I can see why nobody really gets too excited about it. that stuff competes not only with whatever is current when it comes out but with Bowie's own stuff. I think you can cherry pick the hell out of his "recent" stuff.


This is pretty much what I think. 'I'm Afraid of Americans' from Earthling is worthwhile but the album as a whole isn't great.
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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby Conrad Knight Socks » 01 Jul 2010, 09:44

I think Let's Dance is perfectly alright - a couple of weak tracks but good or even geat for the most part. I have heard but not been interested in the others except for Earthling, which I think is an excellent album.
Though not as good as Let's Dance let alone the classics.
I have often wondered what happened to that ludicrous plan of 10 albums of which Outside was vol 1.
I kept thinking "swim as far as you can, swim as far as you can".

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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby atomic loonybin » 01 Jul 2010, 09:49

I did suggest a comp once, but i don't think I ever put it together.

For what it's worth (i.e. not much).

Let's Dance, Tonight, Never Let Me Down - turds on a stick. There's maybe three good tracks between the albums, depending on mood and whether you actually think that Dave met a girl named Blue Jean or not. The best thing he did in the eighties was the song Absolute Beginners. It's not on any of these.

Tin Machine - it's OK, a bit stodgy. Tin Machine II and the godawful live album are career nadirs though, but II astonishingly does contain a very good song - Goodbye Mr Ed.. It also contains the blues song Stateside which really is the worst thing that Bowie has ever put his name to (he lets the drumming Sales brother sing it).

Black Tie White Noise. At least it looks like he's taking a vague interest in his career again, but it's awfully patchy, too many covers. It also ushers in the 'I'll let Reeves Gabrel squawk all over the bleeding place' years. I know we've had this discussion before, but I think he's awful.

Buddha of Suburbia. Almost certainly the lowest selling album with 'David Bowie' on the front cover. But this is really where he starts getting serious again. It's small in scope, it's got some great songs and instrumentals.

Outside. Great album, but about 30 minutes too long - suffers from the 'we've got a 75 minute CD to fill up, so by god we will' syndrome. In there though are three-four of the best stuff he's ever done. It's a concept album so you get instrumentals and talky bits. No David! Just make a 45 minute killer and keep Reeves Gabrels out of the fucking studio!

Earthling. For me, the pick of the new era albums. Despite the jungle / d'n'b affectations, it's also got some fantastic songs on it, though because of the context he sounds like he's phoning it in some of the time.

...Hours.. Disappointing. Asking a fanclub member to write some lyrics for him shows how bereft he was I think. Couple of good songs, mostly filler. Thought it was great when it came out, but time has not been kind.

Heathen. This is great as well. If this had come out after Scary Monsters, it would have fit perfectly. Tends to drift away a bit at the end, but at least he sounds like he cares.

Reality. Another where I played it tons when it came out, saw the tour, yet it's a bit thin. Like most of his not good CD era albums, the good stuff is at the front, and you're reduced to covers and long dead stuff brought back to life Bring me the disco king was about 15 years old when he recorded it.

If you're not a big Bowie fan, there's probably an album, maybe a double of stuff that 'stands muster' with 'the classic years'. I can't imagine anyone picking up (say) Earthling who's never heard him before and saying 'this is my new favourite artist'. But depending on how kind you are, there's some really worthwhile stuff knocking around. I certainly still would play Earthling, Heathen and a trimmed down Outside for pleasure, isolated tracks here and there as well. But if I ever play Never let me down again, it will be a cold day in hell.

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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 01 Jul 2010, 10:05

Nervous Ned wrote:Hi Conny ... The source was Eno 's published diary 'My Swollen Appendices' ... he makes a disparaging comment in relation to another recording (Maybe U2's Passengers).


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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby Nervous Ned » 01 Jul 2010, 10:11

Oh yes, I forgot to mention Mr Gabrels. I actually liked his playing on the first TM album ... but ye gods, he soon proved to be one of he most indifferent Guitarists Bowie has worked with. He lasted 10 (count 'em!) years ... awful awful awful.

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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby The Slider » 01 Jul 2010, 12:39

atomic loonybin wrote:The best thing he did in the eighties was the song Absolute Beginners.


I agree with you
but don't forget the fabulous original version of Cat People

Actually throw in This is not America, The Buddha of Suburbia and Underground ( :lol: ) and most of his outstanding tracks from the era come from soundtracks
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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby Snarfyguy » 01 Jul 2010, 15:09

Nervous Ned wrote:Oh yes, I forgot to mention Mr Gabrels. I actually liked his playing on the first TM album ... but ye gods, he soon proved to be one of he most indifferent Guitarists Bowie has worked with. He lasted 10 (count 'em!) years ... awful awful awful.

Yeah, especially live. He was loud, but I couldn't really hear exactly what he was playing. It was just a wall of sludge.
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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby Conrad Knight Socks » 01 Jul 2010, 15:53

goldwax wrote:Under Pressure was from a soundtrack, too. I really like that one, despite its overfamiliarity.


It might have been shoe-horned into a film soundtrack, but it wasn't designed for a film soundtrack. It's on queen's excellent Hot Space album
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Re: Has Bowie been short-changed?

Postby Piggly Wiggly » 01 Jul 2010, 16:23

atomic loonybin wrote:It also ushers in the 'I'll let Reeves Gabrel squawk all over the bleeding place' years. I know we've had this discussion before, but I think he's awful.


He's the worst. And "exhibit A" in the case against latter day Bowie.